May 2018 in brief

By - Thursday 14th June, 2018

The big news stories of May 2018, summarised by the Citizen team

Photo public domain.

The Croydon Partnership announced Waitrose and John Lewis as anchor stores in the proposed new Croydon Westfield retail development

On 31st May the Croydon Partnership confirmed that a four-level John Lewis store and a Waitrose will be the ‘anchor’ stores in its proposed town centre Westfield retail centre.

Work on the centre is set to begin in 2019. Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader of Croydon Council, declared that the project will deliver 7,000 new jobs for local people in the construction, retail and leisure industries, as well as nearly 1,000 new homes in the town centre. Councillor Tony Newman, leader of Croydon Council, stated that the redevelopment “demonstrates confidence in Croydon’s regeneration, its infrastructure, and its growth as a place that people want to be”.

The partnership’s plans were first granted planning permission in February 2014, but in October 2017 an enhanced outline planning application was submitted featuring revisions including more housing, a third level of retail and leisure and a new flagship Marks and Spencer store. The £1.4bn redevelopment proposal was unanimously given the green light by members of the council’s planning committee in November 2017.

Proposals for Matthews Yard redevelopment do not meet London Plan guidelines

London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that proposals for the demolition of Matthews Yard do not meet the London Plan guidelines. On Thursday 24th May the proposals were rejected due to strategic issues concerning development, provision of affordable housing, urban design, sustainability and transport.

The plans originally proposed “residential-led, mixed-use development ranging from six to eight storeys to provide up to fifty-five residential units (34% affordable) alongside commercial and community floorspace”. Matthews Yard is currently home to a community arts hub for Croydon town centre, including a theatre and gallery.

Croydon basked in record-breaking May bank holiday temperatures

At the start of the month, the May bank holiday brought record-breaking temperatures to Croydon. On Monday 7th May a high of 28.7 °C was recorded in Northolt, West London. The temperature in Croydon was only a degree or two lower.

Meteorologist Ian Currie of Coulsdon confirmed that these temperatures would be warm even for the middle of July. Based on previous years’ trends of heat bursts in May, he predicts pleasant weather for the summer.

Croydonites Festival of New Theatre returned to critical acclaim

From 27th April to 20th May Croydonites Festival of New Theatre hosted theatre shows and performances for citizens of Croydon. The four-week programme included acts such as pop-up opera, films, personal memoirs and immersive theatre. This year, a majority of shows were performed by local artists.

Planning permission for homeless people’s flats was refused on quality grounds

A proposal to construct flats for the homeless in South Croydon has been rejected by Croydon Council. The case officer says that the plans were refused on the grounds that the proposed flats would be too small and would offer a poor standard of living.

The proposed site for the development was a vacant building on the corner of Warham Road and Nottingham Road, previously used as a children’s nursery but now unoccupied for almost a year. The application had stated that the flats would provide housing that is specifically designed to be affordable and accessible to homeless residents most in need.

Actor Peter Cushing will receive an English Heritage blue plaque on his Croydon home

Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, was honoured on 4th May with the announcement of the plaque which is set to be unveiled in July.

He is best known for his performance as Grand Moff Tarkin in the 1977 original Star Wars film. However, for two decades prior to this Cushing gained fame in several fantasy films including The Curse of Frankenstein, The Abominable Snowman, Dracula and The Mummy. He also appeared in an Oscar-winning film adaptation of Hamlet and the BBC television series Sherlock Holmes.

Howard Spencer, a senior historian for English Heritage, declared that “the London Blue Plaques scheme prides itself on celebrating extraordinary people at the places where they lived and worked, so it’s brilliant to be able to announce Cushing’s forthcoming plaque on Star Wars Day. May the fourth be with you!”.

Musicians Krept and Konan open Crepes and Cones restaurant in South Croydon

On 12th May the grime music duo Krept and Konan opened a dessert eatery in South Croydon’s restaurant quarter. Its name, ‘Crepes and Cones’ [sic], highlights two of its main menu offerings. Long queues of would-be diners have been attracted to the restaurant, which also offers waffles, mocktails, frozen drinks, and grilled food including chicken, burgers, hot dogs, and ribs.

Krept and Konan, who both grew up in the Croydon area, stated that they chose the location because they feel that it gives back to the community in which they grew up and that they intend to expand their business.

Roy Hodgson will be awarded the Freedom of Croydon

Croydon Council announced on 16th May that Roy Hodgson, the manager of Crystal Palace FC, will be honoured with the Freedom of the Borough. The former national team manager was recommended by Councillor Tony Newman on account of his remarkable international career in football and in recognition of his contribution to Croydon. Hodgson is attributed with keeping Crystal Palace in the Premier League this season, and has been hailed as the ‘saviour’ of the team.

Parabolic Theatre is shortlisted for prestigious award

Parabolic Theatre, a Croydon-based theatre company and a regular at the Croydonites Festival, has been nominated for a prestigious Off West End award. Its latest production, For King And Country, has been shortlisted for the TBC Award, which honours productions that defy traditional categories and aims to “recognise and celebrate the excellence, innovation and ingenuity of independent theatres across London”. For King And Country is currently running at the Colab Factory near London Bridge.

Hundreds joined in a prayer march to end violence

Croydon’s town centre was filled with citizens marching against violence on 29th April. The event was a peaceful march rallying for “peace, love, and unity”. Some 400 people walked from Queen’s Gardens through the Centrale shopping centre, with signs promoting their message and calling for the youth of Croydon and all of the UK to “drop their weapons”.

Marcher Sephora Bobola, aged 22, said that the rally was a response to the increased number of stabbings reported in the area. “We just want to stand in unity and say that we are here to bring about change”, she said.

New street art appears in central Croydon and Thornton Heath

A new piece of street art from Dan Kitchener has been created in Park Street in central Croydon, along with works by Ben Slow and Mark McClure in Thornton Heath in the north of the borough. Croydon’s growing collection of street art has contributed to the borough’s reputation as the street art capital of London, according to the London Evening Standard

The Croydon Citizen

The Croydon Citizen

The Croydon Citizen is a non-profit community news magazine for London's most populous borough.

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